There are so many benefits for a child to learn a musical instrument, be it the violin, viola, double bass, cello, saxophone, flute, piano, guitar or ukulele. Among the key benefits for child development include improving academic areas, enhancing the ability to socialize, improved communication skills, learning never to give up and so on.
Many children may start violin lessons with much enthusiasm. I know of children who persist in asking their parents to enrol them in violin lessons for kids for one or two years, before their parents finally agree. When asked to commit time and passion to violin practice, the child readily agrees wholeheartedly.
However sadly, after a time period of maybe three months to a year, the enthusiasm dies down. Instead of looking forward to his or her weekly violin classes, the child starts finding excuses to skip lessons and daily practice altogether. This very often degenerates to arguments and sometimes shouting matches between parent and child.
From the parent’s point of view, they have invested funds in purchasing a violin as well as lessons for the child. On top of that, they may have also spent countless hours chaperoning their child to weekly violin lessons Singapore. So it is frustrating if the child’s initial enthusiasm wanes so fast.
According to Rita Yeo of Stradivari Strings, a violin school with maestro level music teachers, there are three tips which will help your child enjoy learning the violin. Once implemented, this greatly enhances the probability of your child continuing on the violin to intermediate or advance level.
First Tip: Ensure That Your Child Has The Right Tool
The tool in this case, is the violin and the bow. Very often, parents go for the cheapest available violin because the mindset is that the violin will only be played on for two years maximum, then the child needs to change to a bigger size one. Unfortunately, this is a classic case of being penny wise and pound foolish. This is the issue that kills a child’s interest even before proper violin lessons for beginners start.
Do bear in mind that the violin range which is cheaper (in this case, priced below $400) are most likely factory range. This range of violin will not be hand crafted using premium aged maple spruce. Due to the low cost, the parts which are attached to the violin (these include the tuning pegs, bridge, sound post, chin rest, tail cord, violin strings, to name a few) are also low grade. The set-up of these range of violin is also not done by a properly trained luthier.
A cheap violin outfit will not come with a premium violin bow which has authentic horse hair. The accompanying violin bow for the lower range violin is also not correctly weighted and balance, causing the student (your child) to have difficulty learning how to manage the bow.
What you get is more like a toy which does not sound good when played. Obviously, this will put your child off practicing the violin!
The minimum you should invest in a beginner range violin at your local violin shop should be around the region of $600 to $800. Ensure that the violin strings are changed to branded ones from the likes of Thomastik Infeld, Larsen or Pirastro. Also the violin bow should be either brazilwood or carbon fibre, and that authentic horse hair is used.
Second Tip: Incorporate Updated Learning Tools
Children nowadays are technology savvy. As babies, they are already familiar with how handphones, remote control for television, laptops work. So instead of using only printed music books (such as the Suzuki method series, technique books by Woof and Kinsey) during kids violin lessons, we can think out of the box and use the various tools available online to make playing the violin a breeze.
There are countless applications and online tools for use by your child’s violin teacher. Have pitching problems? Train aural singing with the latest free application on the mobile phone. Need work on rhythm and counting, buy the latest metronome which can be worn on your wrist and emits light pulse so that it does not distract you in counting.
Sure, you may need to invest some funds to buy these electronic gadgets. However if this makes violin practice easier and enjoyable for your child, why not?
Third Tip: Make Violin Lessons Fun
I have come across teachers who try to explain music theory to a five-year old, assuming that the child has the intellect of an adult. This is definitely a big no-no and a sure fire way to kill a child’s interest in music.
Music is about singing, movement and rhythm. These concepts can be packaged into fun activity capsules for your child. The violin teacher can design simple activities which the young student can relate to, to reinforce these concepts.
Even things which the child needs to memorize in the beginning, such as G, D, A and E strings on the violin, can be made easier for the child by associating the letters to an animal (Giraffe, Dog, Ant, Elephant) or food (Grapes, Durian, Apple, Elderberry).
Fourth Tip: Motivate Your Child With Rewards
Make violin learning fun with tangible rewards once your child has achieved small objectives. It can be based on a target achieved, for example, to perform a piece for the family during Thanksgiving. When this is achieved, the child gets a reward such as going to a classical concert in town.
Or it could be time based, for example, if your child makes it a point to practice five times this week, with each session a mindful practice of between thirty to forty five minutes, your child gets rewarded with a meal at Burger King or Macdonalds.
By offering rewards on incentives, your child is also given some form of control over his or her violin education. This is an important psychological game, and most parents will agree that giving some form of power to the child will make the child work harder.
After reading this article, I hope that you have four tips which you can take action on to make violin learning a breeze for your child.